Age Group Testing

Testing for Age Group Swimmers

The following has come out of discussions with National Junior Coach Ken McKinnon. The impetus for the discussion was supplied by an organization asking for input on testing.

The discussion led to asking the following questions.

  • Do you have a coordinated testing strategy for your team? Do you take senior tests and water them down or have you created specific tests for your younger swimmers?
  • Do you have a club stroke model for all strokes? Do you have expectations about what a stroke should look like at different levels of development inside of your team’s groups?
  • Is there a technical expectation in your aerobic tests or are they simply tests of endurance? Do you have expectations around technique and turn quality?

I think we need to approach testing as both a measure and an educational tool. Testing needs to become a repeated part of weekly planning in a form where it enhances what you are doing instead of becoming a stand-alone portion of planning. The same test wouldn’t be done every week but they should be done on a regularly scheduled basis.  All tests need to have a technical reliability component to really be effective as measure of improvement.


These are test suggestions from Ken:


9-11 years

400 Free timed logged, monitored and evaluated

300 IM/Free 100 each of 50 IM/50 Free, 100 each Fly-Back-Breast

200-300 Kick

200 50 K-100 S-50 K

11-13 years

800 Free timed logged, monitored and evaluated

600 IM/Free 200 each of 50 IM/50 Free, 200 each Fly-Back-Breast

400 Kick

400 as 100 Kick-200 Swim-100 Kick



Mini-Max Stroke Count + Time  

Best Average 

Log SC + Time per 25 or 50

Add them all up

Goal is lowest total of SC and Time of the entire set

Log results, monitor and evaluate consistently

9-11 years

8x25 and/build to 4-6 x 50

11-13 years

8x50 on 1:30

1 set for each stroke

(Note – teach how to swim equal SC on each 25 – proper push offs on turn push offs)


Teach descending swimming

8x50 on 1:15 Descend by 2s – 1 set on each stroke for practice


Sweetnam set

8x50 @ 1:15

Descend 1-8 – begin at Personal Best + 10 and descend by 1.5 – try to maintain a low Stroke Count

Log SC + Times

Note where the SC jumps and design training sets around this point. For example if the stroke count goes from 15/15 per 25 inside the 50 holding :32, to 15/16 or 15/17 at :31 or :32; design a set of 50’s where the swimmer needs to hold :31 at 15/15 repeatedly, then move to trying for :30 at the same count.


200-400 m descend the 50s or 100s


Teach Band Pull

NOTE – I think you could/should log and post many of these sets results as a group and/or team

Other quick ideas to consider logging as a group or team

25 – 50 – 100 Kick

4x50 on 1:00 Best Average on each stroke and IM

100 Free and or Back Band only

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